NEW RECRUIT: Joel Bevilacqua followed his heart from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney, where he's joined the cast of Bondi Rescue.
NEW RECRUIT: Joel Bevilacqua followed his heart from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney, where he's joined the cast of Bondi Rescue. Network Ten

'It's definitely an eye-opener': Coast lifeguards hit Bondi

THEY save lives at Australia's busiest beach, now as the lifeguards of Bondi Rescue return to television screens two former Sunshine Coast lifeguards are joining their ranks.

Formerly a regular on the beach at Mooloolaba, Josh Bevilacqua grew up in Tasmania but was on a plane to the Sunshine Coast hours after finishing his final high school exam.

Within weeks he was lifeguarding on Sunshine Coast beaches and he told the Daily Bondi was a world away.

"It's really intense," he said.

"Everything's sort of multiplied by 10 just because of the sheer amount of people we get on the beach.

"Coming from Tassie I thought Mooloolaba got busy during summer and then I moved here and it's just on a whole different level."

Mr Bevilacqua made the move south after his girlfriend was offered a place in a Sydney fashion school.

 

Joel and Juliana join Tommo and Wally as the new recruits on the new season of Bondi Rescue, led by head lifeguard Bruce
Joel and Juliana join Tommo and Wally as the new recruits on the new season of Bondi Rescue, led by head lifeguard Bruce "Hoppo” Hopkins (centre). Network Ten

The pair moved in with another former Mooloolaba lifeguard and good mate, Jackson Doolan, who encouraged Mr Bevilacqua to join the lifeguards at Bondi.

"I didn't really need to be told twice," Mr Bevilacqua said.

"It is a great job, its an amazing lifestyle and we're very, very lucky to be able to do what we do."

As for the fame that goes with patrolling Australia's iconic beach, Mr Bevilacqua said he hadn't spent too much time thinking about the television side of things.

"My brother keeps telling everyone that I'm going to be on it but I'm trying to keep a lid on it," he said.

"I'm a new recruit. I'm sort of more focussed on doing a good job at the moment."

Ex-Noosa lifeguard Juilana Bahr-Thompson said having camera crews around offered an opportunity to debrief after major incidents.

"It (Bondi) is definitely an eye-opener," she said.

"There's so much happening all day; you're there for 13 hours and you're on your toes pretty much that entire time."

 

Juliana Bahr-Thomson joins the Bondi Rescue team.
Juliana Bahr-Thomson joins the Bondi Rescue team. Network Ten

Bondi might not have Noosa's warm waters and point breaks for a lunch time surf, but the "fast-forward" pace has set just the challenge Ms Bahr-Thompson was seeking.

"I guess I had lifeguarded on so many different beaches across the east coast and I purely just wanted to test out my emergency response skills and test out my lifeguarding ability in the busiest beach in Australia.

"So it was purely for personal testing reasons, you know just being competitive with myself and seeing how I performed under pressure.

"I'm learning a lot, every day I'm constantly learning. Its been a really positive change."

Being one of only two female lifeguards on the beach means Ms Bahr-Thompson has to push herself even harder, but that's a challenge she enjoys.

"You've got to match their skills and abilities so you've really got to kind-of almost out-perform yourself sometimes to match their level," she said.

"Its really tricky, physically it's quite a hard job to get your foot in the door with.

"I mean once you get your foot in the door it's a matter of maintaining the best and highest level of fitness that you can, so you pretty much feel like a professional athlete, the way you've got to maintain your body and train just to make sure every day you're fit and ready to work."

Bondi Rescue season 12 starts on Sunday, January 29 at 6.30pm, on channels TEN and TEN HD.



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